The Super Visa is a temporary visa that is an attractive option for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wish to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada. The Super Visa is a multi-entry visitor visa that is valid for up to 10 years.

Major reforms to the Super Visa came into effect today, July 4. The changes include the following:

  • The length of stay for Super Visa holders will be increased to five years per entry into Canada.
  • People who currently have a Super Visa also have the option to request to extend their stay by up to two years while in Canada. This means current Super Visa holders will now be able to stay in Canada for up to seven consecutive years.
  • Canada’s Immigration Minister will have the authority to designate international medical insurance companies to provide coverage to Super Visa applicants in the future.

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The old Super Visa only allowed its holder to stay in Canada for up to two years per entry. In addition, only Canadian insurance providers could provide the medical coverage that Super Visa applications were required to have.

The reforms now allows parents and grandparents to stay in Canada for five consecutive years without having to renew their visa. It also permits applicants to purchase medical insurance from countries other than Canada. According to Canadian politician Kyle Seeback, who initially proposed the reforms, the introduction of foreign medical insurance could save families thousands of dollars per year. In addition, Seeback said he has confidence that the government framework for international insurance companies will ensure medical costs be covered in case Super Visa holders get sick.

The Super Visa is offered as an alternative to the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), which offers permanent residence to its applicants. The PGP is very popular, but the demand to sponsor exceeds the number of spots available. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) receives about 200,000 interest to sponsor forms a year, although there are only 35,000 applications available. In addition, IRCC has held lotteries to decide who gets to apply for the PGP, which critics say is unfair as candidates who just entered the pool may be picked over those who have been waiting much longer.

There is no lottery to get a Super Visa, offering greater certainty to families. In addition, it takes less time to receive a Super Visa compared to a PGP. Super Visa processing can take months while PGP processing can take years. Finally, the Super Visa provides parents and grandparents more time in Canada and does not require renewal upon re-entry into the country until the validity period has passed.

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